“I love you.”
Soon as those words left my mouth I knew I was fucked. There was no going back now. I had fallen right into her trap.
Mundia stood there looking down at me, her elbow gripped by my outstretched hand, obviously trying to gauge if I’d meant the words or was just saying them to stop her from walking out of the restaurant.
“Sit down, let’s talk about this.”
She hesitated before moving back into her seat, and just like that I knew I had her. The bitch was trapped.
This was going to be easy after all.
Who knew the power of those words?
Sitting at tables set outside the café, Ster-Kinekor light boxes right next to us, I realised I could just throw the words at her and she’d lose her tough girl bullshit. Her guard would be brought right down like the City Council demolishing illegal structures.
I should’ve known.
“I love you, I don’t want you to go please.” The please I added merely for effect; begging wasn’t necessary at that point.
Besides, men don’t beg. Bitches do.
“You don’t mean that,” I noticed her frowning, “you just saying it to keep me here.”
Mundia was smart.
You could give her that.
She had an uncanny way of knowing and reading me well. It was perhaps why I had up and told her I loved her.
Truth be told, she brought it out of me. I was somewhat caught by surprise too. I don’t imagine I could’ve told her those words just for jokes.
But I did.
So fuck the stupid psychologists. They’d probably tell you the fact that I told her I loved her signified on some level I actually meant it.
But that’s all bullshit.
“Well what if I am, at least I want you to stay.”
“Typical,” she bit her lower lip and shook her head, “just typical.”
“I’m serious though.”
“You have a horrible impression of me, you think I’m your enemy and I’m out to get you,” she neatly let go of my hand, “yet it’s you who’s wrong here.”
“I admit it’s partly my fault but I’m not alone in this.”
“You’re so unbelievable you know that.”
She was irritated.
I’d come to know those words as clues to her irritation.
You-know-that, you-understand-that, you-get-that.
Soon as you heard those words you knew she was irritated and trying to vent her frustrations.
“After all the times I asked you to be open and frank with me on the day I tell you I’m leaving is when you tell me you love me?”
She was trying so hard to let me believe she wanted to leave me, but the truth was she wasn’t going anywhere. I don’t know how I knew it, I just did. She was stuck with me and we both knew it.
Neither of us cared to admit it though.
“What does it matter when I say it? What’s important is I said it.”
“No what matters is whether you mean it.”
“It’s basically the same thing.” You were gonna leave me after all.
“No it’s not, especially that you’re deflecting the issue.”
“I’m not deflecting anything I-”
“Yes you are,” she raised her voice a little, “this has nothing to do with whether or not you love me. Welcome as the thought may be, you know this isn’t about that.”
I knew it wasn’t.
“Of course not, this is about you, and her.”
Indeed it was.
Then it seemed that’s what it was all about.
Mundia was looking at me squarely. Seemingly it was as if she was attempting to read me but failing. So I looked over her shoulder to escape eye contact.
It dawned on me that we had reached a crossroad. She knew I didn’t want to talk about it. I’d told her so several times. But I also knew that’s the part she really wanted me to open up about. She had asked me to several times.
I was never going to talk about it.
I was never going to talk about my sister with her.
That was personal.
Despite all that we meant to each other, despite the I love you, she was still not going to get the other things out of me. Some things I just preferred to keep to himself.
I loved my sister and I owed no one an explanation.
Not even this idiot that sat across from me.
“I know I may be stepping out of line here but –”
“Then why are you?”
I looked at her dead in the eyes, aiming to be cold and uncaring. Which I knew was a tad bit selfish considering I’d just told her I loved her just a moment before.
“Better we talk about something else.”
“Po’ I know deep down you know I’m right.”
Surprisingly when I looked at her there was a smile there, a grin evenly set on her face. Right by the edges of her mouth it would form a minute dimple that was only there if you really looked.
I hated that.
Her grin revealed too much teeth.
It was irritating.
No woman was allowed to show that much teeth. Indeed it was cool for the likes of that ZNBC newscaster Faith Musonda, or that Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz to show white splendid teeth but definitely not cool for the woman that was sitting across from me that afternoon.
“You can’t always,” she seemed to be searching for the right word, “be there for her. You need to let her be her own person. I’m sure that’s what she also wants.”
“You have no fucking idea what she wants!”
Her smile instantly vanished.
The grin knocked off her mouth.
“I’ve told you never to swear at me, it just makes you look bad and bitter.”
But that was the thing wasn’t it.
She didn’t seem to know. Regardless of all her charm and smart, she still didn’t seem to realise that I wasn’t a good guy, I wasn’t even bad or bitter.
I was worse.
I was gall.
“You can still put your point across without resorting to insults.”
About that, maybe she was right, but I was damned to hell if I was going to admit that.
“Anyway, perhaps I don’t know what she wants but I know what I want.”
The smile was back on her face.
More teeth out.
I forced myself to look at people on the other tables set around us just to avoid the urge to stick a fork right in between her teeth.
“I want you to come stay with me.” she dropped her hand from the table and let it fall under. “We want you to be a part of us.”
“You’re asking for too much, way more than I can give you.”
“It’s not too much we need this.”
I quickly noticed her insistence on we so I figured she’d already talked about it with her friends or her good for nothing family. It was discomforting, sounding like I was already for the idea.
“What do you mean ‘we’?”
The horrible grin was more pronounced now.
“I mean we both want you to come live with us.”
I was about to reprimand her on that we nonsense when it finally registered. It hit me strong and hard.
“Wait, are you pregnant?”
There was no need for an answer from her, it was all there. Her hand neatly moving about her stomach, the grin, flustered face, puffy cheeks. She was beaming.
“You can’t be pregnant.”
Over her shoulder, the Open label sign on the door of the internet café ahead swung left to right but the door remained still. I realised then I must’ve been shaking my head, my mind no longer even there.
It was already in Vera Town, back at house number 88.
This news would shutter everything.
The truth is, it wasn’t bad news.
But it wasn’t good news either.
It was news I could do without.
“Ah dude, when people have sex, ’specially the way we do, the outcome is usually pregnancy.”
She was being funny.
“So yes I’m pregnant.”
“I’m not saying you’re not pregnant,” I moved my face closer to hers. “I’m saying you can’t be pregnant.”
She went pale.
“I hope you’re not saying what I think you are, I don’t even what to think you’re saying that to –”
“But I’m saying exactly what you think, you have to get rid of it.”
She went pale. I don’t think she even realized that she’d slightly opened her mouth just then as her eyes locked dead with mine.
I supposed it’s the only reaction she could have considering I’d always been Mr Good Guy to her, hell I’d even just told her I loved her.
She started to cry.
But a little louder than I preferred. Calling attention to our table.
“Now listen up you filthy whore, I’m not gonna let you ruin my life with this nonsense okay.”
She was snorting. No grin on her face anymore.
“As it stands you have two options okay?”
Still no grin.
“Either get rid of it and continue living happy as you do or let it be born without a father and you vanish from my life.”
I grit my teeth and moved in for the kill.
“It’s your choice.”
Brilliant. No grin at all
“But one thing is clear I’m not gonna entertain this shit.”
I got up and left her there.
But with more than just the bill to settle.
(My Intellect’s Loud and Noisy-MILAN)